Jumpstarting the market for accessory dwelling units

How did Portland, Oregon, go from permitting two accessory dwelling units (ADUs) per month in 2009 to almost two per day in 2016?  Now, more than one of every 10 housing units built in Portland is an ADU.   ADU permitting explodes: Permits as a share of all residential permits. Compared to other housing types, ADUs, or separate small dwellings…

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Does transit investment displace households and lead to more driving? Yes and no

The passage of Senate Bill 375 in 2008 ushered in a new era of regional sustainability planning in California. Now, regions must coordinate their transportation planning and investment with land use strategies that will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what if the hundreds of new fixed-rail stations recently built or planned for California’s major metros, along with related “transit-oriented development,” inadvertently displace…

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A multi-dimensional approach to affordable housing policy: Learning from climate change policy

We are not building enough of the the so-called Missing Middle in housing types, like these fourplexes in Berkeley. A consensus is emerging that we have to do everything in our power to slow the course of global warming. The list of tools includes long-term measures such as greater energy efficiencies in buildings, industry, appliances; carbon cap-and-trade systems and taxes; new standards for…

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Mission Accomplished? Revisiting the Solutions

Last week, San Francisco voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have halted market-rate development in the Mission District. The proposed moratorium highlighted schisms in the community around the best way to slow the displacement that has made the Mission the gentrification poster child of the Bay Area. One side of the debate reflects traditional economic theory:  increasing housing supply should…

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Possibilities for a Sustainable, Equitable Planet

How should we consume the planet’s resources, who should bear the costs, and how, as a society, should we make these decisions? On March 5, 2015, theInstitute for Urban & Regional Development (IURD) and theInstitute for Research on Labor & Employment (IRLE) jointly sponsored a conference,“Reducing Inequality in a Sustainable World.” A highlight of the day was a panel of…

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